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    Happy Trails

    One of Hy-Vee’s newest stores anchors development aimed at enhancing Des Moines suburb’s economy.

    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ

    Hy-Vee Inc. aims to be an integral part of a growing community just north of Iowa’s capital city, and that new store itself is just one element of the Midwestern grocer’s ambitious growth plans for the coming year.

    At 93,000 square feet Hy-Vee’s new Ankeny store is located in the Prairie Trail planned community, a 1100-acre development that includes a mix of residential, commercial and retail properties as well as parks and other recreational facilities. The Prairie Trail Hy-Vee — the grocer’s second store in Ankeny — represents an $18 million investment in the local economy and the addition of more than 600 jobs, making it the company’s largest store in terms of employment. In addition, this store is part of a multimillion-dollar construction plan currently under way (see sidebar on page 32).

    “We are always looking for opportunities to reach more customers within our eight-state market area,” says Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman, CEO and president. “Our new Ankeny store is part of a planned development on the south side of this growing community, and it’s a great complement to the very successful store we have on the north side of town. It’s one of three new locations we opened in 2013, with four more new stores slated to open in 2014.”

    The store is built around Hy-Vee’s three operating priorities: customer service and experience, health and wellness, and culinary expertise, explains Kevin Hudachek, Prairie Trail Hy-Vee store director. “From our full-service Market Grille restaurant to our large HealthMarket department to our full-time chefs,” he says, “customers are discovering products and services they never dreamed they’d find in a supermarket.”

    Many Moving Parts

    Store planners at Hy-Vee hope that shoppers embrace the new market despite its large size and expansive feel.

    “The thing customers are going to notice as soon as they walk in the door,” says Jeff Markey, Hy-Vee’s VP of store development, “is that even though this is a large store with lots of open space, it’s built on a very friendly scale and has a warm, welcoming feel to it.”

    At the Prairie Trail Hy-Vee, the emphasis is on culinary expertise and a whole-health approach to providing products and services for today’s lifestyles.

    The new Market Grille restaurant and café is a full-service dining experience that offers customers the option of ordering from a menu and enjoying wine or beer with their meals. Other attractions that ought to appeal to foodies include a sushi bar, woodfired pizza, artisan breads, patisserie desserts, specialty cheeses, a salsa and hummus bar, bulk foods, and take-home entrées created by the store’s own staff of six professional chefs.

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    By Jim Dudlicek, EnsembleIQ
    • About Jim Dudlicek As editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer, Jim Dudlicek oversees daily operations of the magazine, spearheads its signature features, produces PG’s monthly Trend Alert newsletter on center store issues, moderates its regular webcast series, and writes and comments about a wide range of grocery issues. A food industry journalist since 2002, Jim came to PG in June 2010 after covering the dairy industry for 7½ years, during which time he served as chief editor of Dairy Field and Dairy Foods magazines. A graduate of Marquette University, Jim is fascinated by how truly progressive grocers inspire consumers to enjoy food, transforming the industry from mere merchants into educators that can take the most basic of all necessities and turn it into something profound and life-enhancing.

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